Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cruder and Amanda Visit…

Towards the end of March, two of my friends from high school came to visit us, Amanda and Jeff Cruder (known as Cruder or Crudes). They planned an action filled trip without much time for hanging out at the field station, which is understandable if you want to get in all the good game viewing. So Jeff and I played tour guides for the week. We had been to most of the places we were going, so we opted out of many of the activities due to lack of money. But the group things that were priced on the group rate and not the individual rate were things we joined in on. And we went to a new place, Lake Mburo. We had never been there before, so it was cool to see a new park and a new place. It is a small National Park with a big lake. They take you out on a small boat and give you a tour, seeing mostly birds. It was really beautiful. We also did a game drive and saw some new things, especially ZEBRAS! This is the place in Uganda to see Zebras and we had not seen them yet. It was fun. They were beautiful and getting a good look at them really gave you the chance to appreciate the amazing designs on their body and how even their hair is striped! See some pictures of our trip below.

On our way to Ishasha, where the tree climbing lions are, we heard that the bridge was out. But people at the turn off insisted we could make it over, so we drove on to the bridge where we found two semi trucks on their sides on either side of the bridge. There was a huge line of trucks waiting for the bridge to be repaired so they could pass. We are talking days or weeks of work. And we saw tons of people working on the bridge. It was crazy. See the pictures below.

Other fun events from the trip were a night out dancing with my field assistants. Amanda wasn’t feeling well enough to go, so Cruder, Jeff, and I went. We took them out to Club Ecstasy in Fort Portal and danced the night away. It was very fun. We had some nice forest walks and good trips! And it was funny to have another Jeff (Jeff Cruder) in Uganda. Some of you may remember how difficult it was for people to say Jeff’s name at first. So when they learned Cruder’s name, they were sooo excited. They would point back and forth between Cruder and Jeff and say Jeff a bunch and then shake their hands and tell Jeff “oh, now you have a friend!” I don’t think that was meant to sound the way it did, but it was being said a lot.

We also went to Kasiisi Primary School and the choir performed for us. It was really nice, but somewhat interrupted by the rain. Also, we went to the super fancy Ndali Lodge for my birthday. Emily and Jeff had been working hard to plan a super secret celebration for me and it turned out to be great! We spent the whole day at the Lodge. First, we had a very yummy lunch, including a huge fresh salad (see picture). Then we went on a walk to tour the vanilla, coffee, and cocoa plantations and to see the vanilla factory. It was a fun walk and we even got to taste raw cocoa, which is really fruity (see picture). After the walk, we soaked in the pool for a bit. Ndali lodge looks out over multiple crater lakes, so it is completely beautiful and the pool also looks out over the scene. It was awesome. We then did cake and presents. The cake was almost like a big brownie. It was so good. We ended with dinner and some nice red wine. It was a wonderful day! I think everyone had a good time.

Other nice pictures from the trip. The first one is a tribute to Jeff's new favorite thing-- birding.

No comments: